Essential Checklist Before Signing Your Postgrad Accommodation Contract

Once you have found your perfect postgraduate accommodation, you'll be ready to sign the contract and start preparing for your postgraduate course. But make sure you take a moment to check a few things before you sign on the dotted line, so you'll be able to relax and concentrate on your studies instead of worrying about the small print you didn't read. 

What type of contract is it?

If you are sharing a house with other postgraduate students, then you'll want to find out if have a joint agreement or if you have individual contracts. When you sign a joint agreement if one of you leaves you will have to enter into a new tenancy agreement with the landlord. Renting with companies like Fresh Student Living is different as you have an individual contract regardless of whether you are sharing or not.

How much is the deposit? 

You will usually have to pay one month's rent as your deposit, but it can vary. With specific student accommodation providers like Fresh Student Living deposits tend to be much lower starting at around £150. 

What are the conditions you need to fulfil to have your deposit returned?

You need to check whether wear and tear be included in the contract or do you need to do basic DIY to keep the property up to standard? This will all be in the small print. With places like halls of residence and accommodation providers like Fresh Student Living it is much easier to get your deposit back as they only keep it if you have outstanding rent or fines due to them. 

What is the length of contract? 

Is it a 6-month contract or a 12-month contract? As a postgraduate student, you'll probably want accommodation over the summer holidays, so check with your accommodation provider. Companies like Fresh Student Living can arrange for summer accommodation at many of their locations and in many cases are more flexible than other rental options. They can be a great choice if you only need accommodation for a little while as contracts can be just a few weeks or you can stay for much longer periods such as the full length of your course if the need arises.

Will there be a break clause in the contract? 

Is there a minimum amount of time – like 6 months – that the landlord must accept you as a tenant or could they ask you to leave with one month's notice at any time? Double check where you stand.

Is the property accredited? 

Has the landlord signed up to the AFS/Unipol code, which has a number of standards that a landlord must achieve to gain accreditation? In some parts of the UK Unipol runs a code of conduct for private landlords renting to students. Landlords participating in this scheme are inspected and must participate in a complaints procedure. Check with your student union or association, as they will provide you with a list of accredited local private landlords who participate in this or similar schemes. 

How will you pay the rent?

Do you need to pay the rent monthly, weekly or by the term? You'll find that most landlords want their rent paid by standing order or direct debit either monthly or weekly. Accommodation providers like Fresh Student Living use other online payment systems like WorldPay and usually require payment each term like university halls of residence. 

What is included with your rent?

Some accommodation providers like Fresh Student Living include a great deal in the rent such as all the bills and items like insurance. You'll need to check what is included in the insurance and if you need to extend the insurance to include items like laptops.

Try to check the inventory

If you can check this before you sign the contract, then that's great but this will only be possible with accommodation providers like Fresh Student Living where you do everything online before you arrive.

Who is your contact?

Accommodation providers that are part of the AFS/Unipol code of contact are required to have a single point of contact for you. You'll find both university accommodation and private halls of residence like Fresh Student Living will have fellow students living with you who are also employed to be a point of contact.

Find out more about Fresh Student Living

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